Sourdough bread dense- Any Suggestions?
I'm new to sourdough baking, having just ordered a sourdough culture, and attempting sourdough bread twice. Both times I made a 100% whole wheat loaf, that had wonderful flavor, and a nice crust. However, the bread was dense. I'd like to achieve a more open crumb. Basically I mixed up the dough, using the stretch and fold method and let it rise in the oven over night, about 12 hrs. It rose very nicely, at least doubling in size. Then I added enough flour to make a sticky/tacky dough that was just barely kneadable by hand. After a few minutes of kneading I formed a couple boules on parchment paper then allowed for a second rise for about 1 1/2 hrs. During this time I preheated the oven to about 485. I sprayed the top of the loaves with some water and then baked them on pre-heated baking stones.
What suggestions would you have for increasing the crumb hole size to make a lighter, less dense loaf? I'm wondering if I should have allowed more time for the second rise. My sourdough starter is really healthy, but it rises slowly. Another thought I had is that maybe I need to use a covered baker or somehow increase the steam in my oven. Maybe I need to try another recipe. I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have.
One more question- is there any reason I couldn't add more starter than the recipe calls for (which I've been doing) so I don't have to throw so much starter away and to inrease the flavor of the bread? I've been trying to compensate to keep the dough hydration the same. If I add extra starter should I shorten the rise time?